Twelve years ago, at a party in Boston, I found myself in a friendly argument about how to complete the lyric “Blinded by the light…” Seemed like everyone at the party had a different idea about what the real lyrics were. When I got home that night, I posted the list of responses I had written down to an early version of Birdhouse and invited people to send theirs. Amazingly, responses started to roll in via email faster than I could post them (manually). I opened it up to mishearances of other songs, and before long I was experimenting with publishing HTML out of databases.
I registered the domain kissthisguy.com and, over the course of a decade, went through a bunch of homebrew Filemaker and MS Access solutions before finally learning PHP/MySQL. The site’s been a great platform for learning about and experimenting with database and templating systems, and has always been good for a chuckle (though weeding through the volume of crappy submissions has always been a chore, mitigated only in the past couple of years by the current public voting system). The site’s been tremendously popular for something I work on only in spurts separated by long periods of inactivity, and I even lived off its ad revenue while writing the BeOS Bible. But the volume of submissions – up to 200 per day at points – eventually became a Sisyphysian task I knew I’d never get out from under. And I’ve known for a long time that without a lot more TLC, the site wasn’t maximizing its potential.
Half a year ago, I was contacted by an entrepreneur / investor / music fan who had been following the site for years, who was interested in buying it. The decision was tough – it had always been my baby, and I was proud to have done a lot with a little. But I’m also increasingly realizing that my life is like death by a thousand paper cuts – a zillion small involvements keep me permanently spread too thin, and I’ve been feeling like I want to clear more time for living. So we negotiated for a while and came up with a fair deal that would leave me as partial owner, but without further maintenance responsibilities. A few months ago, I sold kissthisguy.com and began the long process of cleaning up code, converting ad spaces, documenting the back-end, and getting the site ready for its next incarnation. A new company has been created to back the site, and some really solid backing is appearing to push the site in all kinds of directions I never foresaw.
I’m really proud to have created kissthisguy, and it’s been a great ride. But I’m also happy to let it move on in this way – I know that with my schedule, the site would just have lingered in the “lightly maintained” way it had been for years. Now it’s got new life and an inspired new owner. We haven’t said anything about this on the site yet, but check back in the coming months to see where it’s all going.